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Bolshoi Ballet - Don Quixote, London 2019

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Posted (edited)
On 18/08/2019 at 14:36, Shade said:

Agree Don Q fan those Osipova/Vasiliev Don Q were the be benchmark for me and I count myself very lucky to have seen them. I regard them as once in a lifetime events. Of course I can still enjoy other performances and perhaps it’s unfair to compare.

 

I agree with you, Shade. We can judge and appreciate other dancers for their own qualities. We enjoy performances of new musicians although they might not play like Paganini or Rachmaninoff. We keep buying and reading and enjoying new books although they don’t match such central works of world literature as “War and Peace” or “Hamlet”.

For those who missed Don Q. in 2011 —  excerpts with Osipova, Vasiliev, Savin, also with Rossinant and Donkey (recorded in Moscow). I can not stop watching it.

The performance in London was even better than this.

 

Edited by Amelia
The last line added.
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I will never forget those incredible performances in London.  It makes me so happy whenever I think about them.  

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for this Amelia. Love it! Have plenty of time to watch it at mo too! Love these two together and even down to Natalia keeping her fringe....usually a ballet no no!!

Probably have said this before but saw the London Colisseum performances ( can't remember why they were at the Colisseum) and just thought at the time the best thing I'd seen for ages it was so thrilling and the whole Company brilliant as well. I remember saying to friends do you think Natalia has got something in her shoes like a special spring or something as she was just so bouncy and her jumps were amazing ....as were Vasiliev's of course! 

The audience was really buzzing and went Home on a high!! 

Edited by LinMM
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1 hour ago, LinMM said:

can't remember why they were at the Colisseum

 

Was this maybe the time they were with the Mikhailovsky? They visited the Coliseum with that company. 

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Ahh perhaps you are right Geoff will check with friends where we saw this Don Q .....could have been ROH  but have this memory it was at the Colisseum. It was the first time I saw Osipova for real and have a soft spot for her since.

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Posted (edited)

https://www.victorhochhauser.co.uk/page/bolshoi-ballet-2007-summer-season.php

 

This gives the Bolshoi Coliseum season in 2007, for me a season that will never be bettered and not a Tchaikovsky ballet in sight, including Swan Lake! Just Bayadere, Spartacus, Don Q, Bright Stream, modern triple bill and UK premiere Ratmansy's Corsaire; wow!  When you see a season like this you realise how far the Bolshoi have fallen repertory wise since then. In 2006 they also premiered both Bright Stream and Pharoah's daughter. I don't know why they were at the Coliseum but throughout the 1990s Hochhauser seasons were always at the Coliseum and it was only after the re-opening of the Opera House in 1999 that seasons were more usually at the ROH. I vividly remember the excitement of seeing Acosta in Spartacus one night and then the next night the debut of Osipova/Vasiliev in Don Q. The atmosphere was electric and you could hear the audible gasps round the auditorium as Vasiliev did some of his amazing leaps. At the end they got a 'pop concert' type reception and I thought one man was going to fall out of his box he was jumping up and down and shouting so much! It must have been a bit of what it was like when Nureyev appeared early in his career.

Edited by jmhopton
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I was wondering when was the last time the Bolshoi/Mariinski gave a season without Swan Lake, although of course it's not just the Russians who rely on Swan Lake as a guaranteed sellout, shows how the regular audience has slowly diminished over the years, also how the excitement of just seeing the Bolshoi/Mariinski has changed, it was very much if you didn't get a ticket as soon as public booking opened, you didn't go, now people wait around for special offers. Certainly this last Bolshoi Season was the least memorable for me, although I loved Bright Stream and Don Quixote , if they had brought these plus Nureyev (good or bad) and a triple bill I would have been very pleased and gone more!

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On 24/08/2019 at 13:10, jmhopton said:

When you see a season like this you realise how far the Bolshoi have fallen repertory wise since then. 

I don't think it is fair or accurate to suggest the Bolshoi repertory has 'fallen'.  If you look at what they put on at home it is varied and full of interest.  The thing to question is the demands of the London public.  Although I myself am happy with regular helpings of Tchaikovsky,  I'd like to see more variety here too, of course, but not if it means the organisation makes a loss and jeopardises future tours to our shores.

Re the earlier discussion about the development of pointe shoes, I came across this in a magazine interview from a couple of years ago.  The incomparable Tsiskaridze states:
'..the boxes on Western pointe shoes are wide, they're huge, and that bears no relation to ballet. If you visit the Academy's museum and look at old shoes, the boxes are tiny, but they turned 32 fouettés on them.  To do the same in Western boxes today, that's a sport... the Russian method is one of beauty, not of sport. It's dance - and that beauty is created with difficulty.'

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6 minutes ago, maryrosesatonapin said:

I don't think it is fair or accurate to suggest the Bolshoi repertory has 'fallen'.  If you look at what they put on at home it is varied and full of interest.  The thing to question is the demands of the London public.  Although I myself am happy with regular helpings of Tchaikovsky,  I'd like to see more variety here too, of course, but not if it means the organisation makes a loss and jeopardises future tours to our shores.

Re the earlier discussion about the development of pointe shoes, I came across this in a magazine interview from a couple of years ago.  The incomparable Tsiskaridze states:
'..the boxes on Western pointe shoes are wide, they're huge, and that bears no relation to ballet. If you visit the Academy's museum and look at old shoes, the boxes are tiny, but they turned 32 fouettés on them.  To do the same in Western boxes today, that's a sport... the Russian method is one of beauty, not of sport. It's dance - and that beauty is created with difficulty.'

 

I agree with the first paragraph; but as for the second I don’t think anyone should consider Tsiskaridze a neutral observer - or indeed stickler for facts - entertaining though his pronouncements may be. (And you have to question how his opinions stack up against the evidence of certain notable Russian dancers’ preference for Gaynor Mindens.)

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15 minutes ago, maryrosesatonapin said:


Re the earlier discussion about the development of pointe shoes, I came across this in a magazine interview from a couple of years ago.  The incomparable Tsiskaridze states:
'..the boxes on Western pointe shoes are wide, they're huge, and that bears no relation to ballet. If you visit the Academy's museum and look at old shoes, the boxes are tiny, but they turned 32 fouettés on them.  To do the same in Western boxes today, that's a sport... the Russian method is one of beauty, not of sport. It's dance - and that beauty is created with difficulty.'

 

2 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I agree with the first paragraph; but as for the second I don’t think anyone should consider Tsiskaridze a neutral observer - or indeed stickler for facts - entertaining though his pronouncements may be. (And you have to question how his opinions stack up against the evidence of certain notable Russian dancers’ preference for Gaynor Mindens.)

 

Have the boxes been developed to their current state because they are healthier for the dancers' feet?  In which case how can we complain?

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1 hour ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

 

Have the boxes been developed to their current state because they are healthier for the dancers' feet?  In which case how can we complain?

It would be healthier not to have pointe shoes at all.  It would be healthier not to have ballet at all, for the dancers.  I am grateful to them for the sacrifices they make, whatever shoes they wear.

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When you see a season like this you realise how far the Bolshoi have fallen repertory wise since then

 

I was referring to the repertory they bring to London not what they do at home. The 2006/7 rep. they did here was so varied and interesting; so many 'new to us' ballets to see and they still sold out. It just seems a great contrast to what they've brought here in the last 2 or 3 visits where there have been very few 'new to us' ballets despite having quite a few in their repertory.

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1 hour ago, maryrosesatonapin said:

It would be healthier not to have pointe shoes at all.  It would be healthier not to have ballet at all, for the dancers.  I am grateful to them for the sacrifices they make, whatever shoes they wear.

 

I, too, am grateful to the dancers and what they give to their art for us.  I also appreciate that pointe shoes and pointe work have become synonymous with ballet but I would prefer that dancers have pointe shoes that cause the least lasting damage to their feet.

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5 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Have the boxes been developed to their current state because they are healthier for the dancers' feet?  In which case how can we complain?

 

No, Janet, this "development" has nothing to do with health. Pointe shoes, and ballet proper, from the modern perspective, so obsessed with health matters, should be considered extremely unhealthy. Just wait until some militant activist politicians come up with a law proposal that outlaws selling and distributing pointe shoes (not unlike selling and distributing "controlled substances").

 

The tragic situation, I am not afraid to say that, with the recent degeneration of the pointe shoe, is to primarily make it easier, and, for many, even feasible, to perform what was previously considered (very) difficult and what could have be done by a very select group of ballerinas. Compare the pointe shoes worn by Margot Fonteyn with the ones worn by most of our principals Anno Domini 2019.

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Regarding the width of the block on pointe shoes, I had previously noticed how much wider they are these days.  I think it may have something to do with the invention of the ouch pouch - there simply would not have been room for them in the shoes worn previously.  My feet are medium narrow and I still have the last pair of pointe shoes I wore professionally, Repetto Opera.  We used to wear pointe shoes all day, morning class (like a Balanchine class all on pointe), afternoon rehearsal and evening performance or more rehearsal.  All I used was a tiny scrap of lambs wool around the two smallest toes, as they are short it sort of filled in the gap. 

 

DD had extremely narrow & shallow feet, very difficult to find shoes to fit. However, even the narrowest she had still looked big and clumpy beside my old Repettos which appear very delicate.  We had spotted the trend to wider blocks some years ago.   

 

However, I would take issue with criticsm saying pointe shoes are unhealthy.  If technique is taught correctly and the shoes fit properly there should not be any problems.

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6 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

However, I would take issue with criticsm saying pointe shoes are unhealthy.  If technique is taught correctly and the shoes fit properly there should not be any problems.

 

Could you possibly elaborate on this ?

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If a dancer is well trained the core muscles support the weight of the body. The legs are strong and the intrinsic muscles of the feet are developed to hold the many small bones of the feet. The dancer should not "sit" in the shoes, akin to slumping in the saddle for horse riders.

Pointe shoes should support under the arch and under the heel as well as enclosing the toes in the box to hold the metatarsals. There is a current fashion for over arching the feet on pointe, i.e. going too far over the box.  

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Pas de Quatre made a very good point: improperly learned pointe technique often leads to serious injuries already at the school level, how many girls' dreams of becoming a professional dancer were ruined by a stress bones fracture, for example? This is one of the reasons why at the leading schools children were in the past not allowed on pointes before reaching certain age. This said, however, doesn't invalidate the point made earlier, that professional dancing on pointes is a serious hazard for ballerinas health.

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Thank you both, Pas de Quatre and Assoluta, for your responses. I would be one who favours making ballet and all forms of dance as healthy as possible.

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